As digital marketing strategies get ever more demanding, brands are expected to increase their spending on automation in the coming years. However, while marketing automation is becoming increasingly important for meeting content publication, social media posting and email marketing schedules, many brands risk losing their voice to it. As such, the term ‘marketing automation’ makes many marketers anxious, and it’s far easier to end up annoying the consumer market through a robotic approach than to uphold your brand’s voice and continue to build up its reputation.

banner-marketing-automation

Keep Scalability in Mind

When adopting a marketing automation strategy, it’s easy to start focussing excessively on all the different ways you could save time. However, when you’re first getting started, it’s important to keep it simple, lest you end up losing your brand’s voice long before you start seeing results. Marketing automation should ultimately be seen as a way to get your business to grow rather than to transform the entirety of your existing digital marketing strategy. Fortunately, most marketing automation platforms are built with scalability in mind, allowing you to pay only for the services you need while leaving plenty of space to expand as your business grows.

Never Forget the Human Touch

It’s easy to lose your brand’s voice through automation and make your digital marketing strategy completely robotic. Modern marketing practices need to humanise your brand, otherwise your approach will no longer be personalised, and your target audience will soon grow tired. Marketing automation can be extremely useful for setting up things like content publication schedules, but it should never be used for generating content and trying to dominate the search engine results. Most importantly, you’ll need to work hard to build your mailing list and grow your audience without relying on things like buying lists and automated processes.

Segment Your Target Market

Organising your market segmentation is an essential step to take before you start automating your strategy. You need to make sure the right content gets to the right audience, lest your unsubscribe rates skyrocket. Depending on how broad your business’s intended reach is, you’ll need to separate your subscribers and customers into different groups based on criteria such as demographics, past purchases and other on-site activities. Fortunately, you can use automation to garner insights into your target audience, but you’ll also want to create personas for your ideal customers to get a better idea of where to start.

Adopt A/B Testing

Sometimes known as split testing, A/B testing has become one of the most important elements of digital marketing. In its simplest form, it involves comparing two or more versions of a webpage to see which of them performs the best. A/B testing can then be further refined by splitting the best variant and repeating the process. This highly effective form of testing allows you to learn more about what your intended audience wants and, best of all, it can be applied to almost every area of your digital marketing campaign. You can use automation to determine which headlines, links and social media posts are the most effective, as well as a great deal more.

Enhance User Experience

User experience should be your number-one priority rather than focussing too much on your standing in the search engines. Marketing automation provides an effective way to move existing leads down the purchase funnel by creating a consistent and user-friendly experience. You’ll need to think carefully about the buyer’s journey and where you want them to be at the end of the process. However, not all automation processes need to be start-to-finish solutions. Instead, you should use automation to create multiple processes designed ultimately to accomplish your marketing goals, such as nurturing existing leads and turning leads into paying customers.

Define Your Goals

No area of digital marketing will succeed if it doesn’t have a set of carefully defined goals behind it. Before you get started with automation solutions, you’ll need to assess your current situation and target audience before setting goals and establishing a plan. For example, your goals may include increasing leads, turning your leads into customers, reporting results or identifying the most promising leads. Of course, the ultimate goal of any marketing automation process is to save time and money, but it is important to refine this significantly in order to maintain the human element in your strategy.

Gain Insights

By far the most effective way to use automation is to learn more about your target audience. In fact, due to the vast amount of data generated by any digital marketing strategy, it quickly becomes thoroughly impractical to measure results and make sense of the statistics without automated processes. Your marketing automation solution should be able to collect and help you make sense of important metrics, such as email open rates, social media responses, time spend on your website and various other useful statistics. You can then use this data to improve your marketing strategy to nurture existing leads and appeal to new ones.

Choose the Right Platforms

There are several important steps in choosing the right marketing automation platform. Firstly, you’ll need to write down your goals before identifying your requirements and establishing a plan. You’ll then need to assemble your team before making a final decision. Planning your automation strategy is heavily reliant on mapping your marketing funnel and having a thorough understanding of the customer journey. When choosing automation software, you’ll also want to choose a comprehensive platform that can serve multiple areas of your digital marketing strategy, such as email marketing, social media and content publication.

Set up Alerts

The safest way to approach marketing automation is first to use it only for collecting data and providing alerts. Setting up automated alerts will make sure you are kept informed by email of the progress of your strategy. With a few carefully chosen alerts, you will be better equipped to learn which areas of your marketing campaign are driving your brand forward and which ones are holding it back. Alerts may be chosen to keep you informed about things like new subscribers, downloads, video views, on-site comments and much more. To help keep everything organised, you might want to create a dedicated inbox folder for all of your alerts.

Look beyond Email

Marketing automation traces its roots back to email, and while email remains a critical element of any online marketing campaign, there are now many other equally important channels and platforms that your potential and existing customers will be using. Thinking beyond your subscribers’ inboxes will better prepare you to capitalise on the various other potentially profitable areas of digital marketing, such as social media and on-site activities. For example, many marketing automation platforms now take care of your social media posting schedule, but they should be approached with care and careful timing to help keep your brand’s voice and reputation intact.

Final Words

Above all, there are two essential considerations to keep in mind when adopting any marketing automation strategy. Firstly, while it can give your business plenty of room to expand, it should never been seen as a way to generate leads and carry out your marketing strategy for you. Secondly, your actual message needs to be centred on the real people who form your target audience. After all, if you base your strategy solely around statistical information gathered by automation platforms, such as click-through and email open rates, you’ll quickly end up overlooking the unique aspects of your target market.